Draft data protection Bill uses ‘she’ and ‘her’ to refer to all individuals

Image for representation.

Image for representation.
| Photo Credit: AFP

In a first, the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, released on Friday, has used the pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’ to refer to all individuals, as against the use of ‘he’, ‘him’ and ‘his’.

In line with the “philosophy of women’s empowerment that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government works, [we have attempted] to use the words she and her in the entire Bill, instead of he, him and his. So this is an innovative thing which has been attempted in the Bill,” Minister of Electronics and IT Ashiwini Viashnaw said.

More than three months after the personal data protection Bill was withdrawn from Parliament, the government released the revised draft Bill for stakeholder consultation on Friday.

As per the explanatory note issued with the draft Bill, “For the first time in India’s legislative history, “her” and “she” have been used to refer to individuals irrespective of gender. This is in line with the government’s philosophy of empowering women.”

‘Simple language’

The government also said that to enable all citizens to understand the provisions, the Bill had been drafted in a plain and simple language.

“As directed by the Prime Minister, we have drafted the Bill in a language which is very straightforward, simple to understand, easy to understand…,” Mr. Vaishnaw said.

This is the second such attempt after the draft Indian Telecommunication Act 2022, released in September this year, by the government to draft a Bill in a manner so that “any citizen is able to understand its provisions”.

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The explanatory note issued along with the draft states that “Comprehensibility of law for citizens is a desirable goal”.

“The provisions have been concisely and clearly drafted and no provisos have been used. Illustrations and contextual definitions, where necessary, have been incorporated to further clarify the meaning and intent of provisions,” it said.

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